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About This Guide

The Journey Begins

It is recommended that a Correctional Industries program begin this process by conducting a strategic analysis to determine the current state of the overall program. To determine the future direction of the organization, it is necessary to understand the current position so the plan will be based on current and relevant information.

To gather more information, conduct an in-depth review of the mission, vision, core values, resources, stakeholder and customer support, strategic alliances and collaborations, defining legislation and other internal /external factors directly related to the Correctional Industries program.  Review the 10 key components of the Reentry-Focused Performance Excellence Guide and choose 2 – 3 areas where development and/or further refinement would enhance operations.  Ultimately the goal would be to incorporate all 10 best practice components into the daily operation of a Correctional Industries program. 

Each best practice component provides the definition, rationale, benefits, and practices to assist teams in getting started.  There are also recommended metrics to measure your success, further resources to review and information on other Correctional Industries who have implemented the best practice component successfully.

Systems Thinking and Focus

The Reentry-Focused Performance Excellence Guide was developed using a systems approach to achieve the following:

  • Reduce Recidivism
  • Increase Public Safety
  • Improve Offender Success
  • Ensure Sustainability
  • Enhance Operations

Each component is intended to positively affect at least one area noted above with most components influencing multiple areas. Using target outcomes which include program relevance, financial sustainability, maximizing participation, increased employment and job retention of former offenders after release, collaboration within the communities, etc., the effects of full model implementation are substantial. 

Effective implementation of the model will also:

  • Guide the vision and develop leadership to sustain an organizational culture of offender success which will support setting expectations, engaging stakeholders and empowering staff
  • Apply consistent best practices that can be managed and measured to improve outcomes throughout all Correctional Industries
  • Establish a collaborative structure with Corrections and the Community
  • Provide justification for expanding programs and seeking additional resources or legislation necessary to implement the best practices within an organization  

Why Should a Correctional Industries Program use this Model?

"A leader takes people where they want to go.
A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go, but ought to be."

Rosalynn Carter

In Your Organization

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, with no job, no money, and no place to live, former offenders often find themselves facing the same pressures and temptations that landed them in prison in the first place. Assisting recently released offenders in finding and keeping employment, identifying transitional housing, and receiving mentoring are three key elements of successful reentry into our communities.

The most recent studies disclose the following alarming statistics:

  • 1 in every 100 people in the U.S. is incarcerated in prison or jail.
  • 1 in every 32 people in the U.S. is under correctional supervision whether it is incarceration, probation or parole.
  • 1 in every 48 working age men (18-64) is incarcerated in prison or jail.
  • United States is #1 in the world at incarceration rate.
  • $32,000 is the annual national average cost to incarcerate one individual in federal prison.
  • 50% is the national average three year recidivism rate.

Throughout the components statistical information is provided indicating offenders assigned to Correctional Industries programs have a significantly lower return rate to prison. With the increasing cost of incarceration nationwide and the high recidivism rate, Correctional Industries has the opportunity to significantly assist its correctional system in making a positive impact on its Reentry initiatives.

The model is established to focus on all areas necessary to both prepare offenders to gain and retain employment after release as well as maintain the program’s financial self-sufficiency and sustainability.


The Reentry-Focused Performance Excellence Guide offers the following benefits across the country:

  • It will help direct and improve organizational focus and performance results through strategic planning and measurable results.
  • It will ensure the relevancy of each Correctional Industries program as it significantly impacts the correctional system’s reentry efforts.
  • It will facilitate communication and sharing of best practices among all U.S. and International Correctional Industries organizations.
  • It will serve as a working tool for understanding and managing organizational performance which will be continually updated as new information and trends emerge.
  • It will serve as a tool to guide both the NCIA and an individual organization to provide ongoing opportunities for learning.

Components at a Glance

  • Incorporate Strategic Planning – Strategic Planning is the cornerstone of implementing and sustaining reentry-focused performance excellence.  It is the process of defining your organization’s direction and making decision in support of that strategy. 
  • Maintain Financial Sustainability – Self-sufficiency and sustainability are  essential to meet current and future obligations ensuring the long-term viability of a Correctional Industries program.
  • Recruit, Develop and Retain Staff – It is important to recruit individuals capable of performing the job today with the capacity to grow to meet the future needs of the organization. Staff as technical experts, work coaches and mentors are critical to the overall success of a Correctional Industries program.
  • Engage Stakeholders – Correctional industries operate within three spheres of influence: Government, Business and Societal.  It is important to understand stakeholder requirements and the impact of each one, as well as their relationship to each other.
  • Replicate Private Industry Environment – The more Correctional Industries utilize the same processes, controls, equipment and procedures as private industry, the better prepared the offender will be to find employment and successfully transition to the private sector. 
  • Implement Certificate Based Soft Skills Training – A certificate based training process creates standards and structure for soft skills attainment.  These skills, reinforced through the Correctional Industries environment can significantly improve offender behavior while incarcerated and promote successful reentry. 
  • Provide Certified Technical Skills Training – Certifications earned through technical skills training are a reliable predictor of workplace success and are essential to gainful attachment to the workforce upon release.
  • Maximize Offender Job Opportunities – Providing the greatest number of job opportunities for the offender population is critical to the overall impact that Correctional Industries has on reentry and recidivism.
  • Create a Culture of Offender Employment Readiness and Retention – Creating a culture focused on offender reentry success through employment readiness leads to employability and job retention after release.
  • Provide Post Release Employment Services – Post-release employment services support gainful attachment to the workforce. Continued engagement after job placement promotes retention, re-employment in the event of job loss, and assists with advancement opportunities.